Leeds wary Premier League side could ‘ambush’ striker transfer, with Victor Orta planning new bid

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Wilfried Gnonto, Germany v Italy June 2022 Credit: PA Images
Wilfried Gnonto, Germany v Italy June 2022 Credit: PA Images

Leeds United have become aware of Bournemouth and Serie A interest in FC Zurich striker target Wilfried Gnonto, according to reports.

The Whites have enjoyed a solid start to the season, picking up two wins and a draw from their first four games. Their host of new signings have proved crucial, with Brenden Aaronson among those to impress.

Meanwhile, new winger Luis Sinisterra scored in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup win over Barnsley.

However, with Patrick Bamford suffering another injury after spending most of last season on the sidelines, Leeds manager Jesse Marsch has confirmed plans to sign another attacking reinforcements.

Zurich’s exciting young marksman Gnonto has therefore been a target for the Elland Road club in recent weeks.

Leeds have agreed personal terms with the 18-year-old Italy international, but the fee remains a stumbling block.

According to Italian journalist Alfredo Pedulla, Leeds – led by director of football Victor Orta – are planning to increase their last bid of €5million (£4.2million). Previous reports have revealed that Zurich will accept £6.8million.

Meanwhile, Football Insider reports that Bournemouth are looking to ‘ambush’ Leeds’ deal hopes for Gnonto.

While the Whites remain in the lead to sign the teenager, they are ‘wary’ of the Cherries’ advances. Bournemouth technical director Richard Hughes watched Gnonto on Thursday as Zurich beat Hearts to qualify for the Europa League proper.

Serie A newcomers Monza are also keen on Gnonto, who could well move on before Thursday’s transfer deadline.

Wilfried Gnonto an exciting prospect

Gnonto moved to Zurich from Inter’s youth ranks on a free transfer in 2020. Playing all across the front line, he has scored 12 goals and assisted 10 others in 73 appearances.

Indeed, he scored and registered an assist in the Swiss side’s Europa League qualifying campaign.

His recent rise led to his senior Italy debut in June, where he set up a goal for Lorenzo Pellegrini in a 1-1 draw with Germany.

Gnonto has since added three more caps to his name and will be looking to feature more regularly on the international stage.

Leeds transfer makes sense

Leeds have built up an impressive reputation for signing and developing young talents in recent years. Gnonto could yet be the next in line.

The likes of Sam Greenwood, Joe Gelhardt and Crysencio Summerville are all now regular first-teamers.

Gnonto would be able to get similar chances in Marsch’s plans if he moved there. And the fact that he already has four Italy caps shows how value his national team rate him.

While Gnonto would be sacrificing Europa League football if he moved to Leeds, the offer of Premier League football may tempt him more.

With Wolves’ Hwang-Hee Chan also on Leeds’ radar, though, it remains unclear whether they will sanction two more attacking signings before the deadline.

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